A popular cry in the 18th century - 'Gardyloo' was a warning to anyone walking beneath the crowded tenement flats of Edinburgh's Old Town. Literally it means 'beware of the water', but the slops they emptied out into the streets were not always so pleasant.
Walter Scott's 'bride of Lammermoor' was based on real events in Baldoon Castle, Dumfries, and to this day the bloodstained ghost of the bride, who was murdered or driven insane according to different versions of the tale, is said to haunt the castle.
Arnish Moor on the Isle of Lewis is believed to have been haunted by a figure dressed in 18th century clothing. Spookily, the body of a similar figure was dug from the moor in 1964, since when the appearances of the ghost have ceased.
The town of Ceres in Fife could claim to hold the oldest Highland Games in Scotland. Since 1314 the Ceres Games have been held each June to commemorate the safe return of Ceres men from the Battle of Bannockburn.
The term ceilidh, used now to mean an evening of traditional dance usually with live music, translates literally from Gaelic as 'visit' and was once used more generally to mean a social gathering.
One of Scotland's most famous literary figures, Macbeth, was a real historical figure who ruled the kingdom from 1040 to 1057. Contrary to Shakespeare's version of events, Macbeth did not die until three years after the battle of Dunsinane.
When Robert the bruce's army attacked the English fort at Kelso it crept near to the fort's walls disguised as a herd of cows.
'Munro' is a term for all Scottish mountains over 3,000 feet. The term was coined after the climber Sir Hugh Munro published a set of tables listing all such peaks.
The longest loch in Scotland is Loch Awe at 24 miles long, although Loch Lomond has the largest surface area and Loch Ness the largest volume. Ben Nevis, in the Grampians, is the highest mountain in britain at over 4,400 feet.
The thistle first officially appeared as the Scottish emblem on coinage around 1470, during the reign of James III.
Carvings of cacti and Indian corn inside Roslin Chapel, on the outskirts of Edinburgh, present fairly convincing evidence that the founder's grandfather, Prince Henry of Orkney, set foot in the New World a full century before Columbus.
Pontius Pilate is said to have been a Scot. According to some he was born in Perthshire when his father was posted there on military service.
William brodie is said to have inspired R.L.Stevenson's novel The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. An Edinburgh town councillor and cabinet maker by day, by night brodie was the leader of a gang of thieves and a compulsive gambler. He was eventually executed for his crimes in 1788.
In 1457 James II tried to, unsuccessfully, to ban football in Scotland, a decision that would not be any more popular today.
although she never sat on the English throne, Mary Queen of Scots is the ancestor of all the English monarchs who followed her.
Claims have been made that the modern kilt was devised by an Englishman named Rawlinson who was in charge of an iron smelting works in Lochaber. Needless to say, the Scots vigorously deny this.
Whilst it is currently considered fashionable to wear your family's tartan, this habit has little historical basis and it is better to let good taste be your guide. However, to fabricate a link to a family with whom you have no connection is considered a serious faux pas in some circles.
....and used to boast the tallest palm tree in britain, until it was chopped down in 1987. Still, two out of three isn't bad.
Edinburgh Castle is haunted by the ghost of a headless drummer who is said to appear only when the castle is about to be besieged. His first recorded appearance was in 1650 just before Cromwell attacked.
Dalry House in Edinburgh is reputedly haunted by a one armed ghost. The spirit is supposedly of John Chiesly, a man who had his arm chopped off as punishment for shooting Sir George Lockhart. Rumour has it, though, that the ghost is 'armless.
A recipe has survived from 18th century Edinburgh for 'bride's Pie', an odd mixture of calf's feet, apples, raisins, cinnamon, brandy and champagne.
This is an alternative to neeps'n'tatties. Fry some cabbage (preferably kale) in a little oil and mix in mashed potatoes. For an interesting variation, add some chopped chives to the potatoes before mashing them.
Sean Connery has appeared in over 60 films to date, including seven appearances as Ian Fleming's hero James Bond.
The 1986 film Highlander stars French actor Christopher Lambert as the eponymous highlander, and a native Scot, Sean Connery as a Spaniard.
The 1996 film braveheart gave an important boost to the Scottish tourist industry, even though the majority of scenes were shot in Ireland.